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Colruyt loses market share during lockdown

Customers queuing in a Colruyt store
Photo: Colruyt Group

The corona crisis did Colruyt Group no good: the supermarkets lost market share in the second half of the year and during the lockdown. Sales growth over the financial year 2019/20 remained below expectations.

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Stronger growth for convenience stores

Colruyt Group's turnover increased by 1.6?% to more than 9.5?billion euros in the financial year 2019/20, the company reports in a press release. On a comparable basis, sales growth was 1.7?% including fuels and 1.4?% excluding fuels. That was below analysts' expectations. Remarkable news is also that the market share in Belgium of the chains Colruyt Lowest Prices, OKay and Spar fell slightly: it amounted to 32.1?% in FY?2019/20, compared to 32.2?% in 2018/19. This has put an end to a trend that had been rising for years.

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Market share increased in the first half of the year and decreased in the second half of the year, the retailer says - and it also decreased during the COVID-19 crisis in 2020. "Proximity concepts, in particular, experienced faster growth during this period." Both Carrefour and Delhaize had already reported an increase in market share in the first quarter of?2020: both retailers do indeed have a stronger position in the convenience store segment.

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Margins stable

Sales at the Colruyt stores in Belgium and Luxembourg rose by 2.2?%, with comparable sales growth of 0.7?%. The chain opened five new stores and renovated nine. OKay, Bio-Planet and Cru achieved a combined sales growth of 6.0?%. Excluding the additional turnover during the corona crisis, this was 3.1?%, mainly due to expansion and a positive calendar effect. Wholesale turnover (which also includes Spar-wholesaler Retail Partners Colruyt Group) rose by 0.4?%. "The renewed Spar Colruyt Group stores achieve more than average sales growth, as well as a profitability that is among the best in the market", the retailer says.

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Colruyt's turnover in France fell by 13.9?% due to a difference in reporting period: the previous financial year comprised fifteen months instead of twelve. Colruyt's comparable sales in France increased by 4.5?% including fuels and by 6.2?% excluding fuels. Non-food retail sales rose by 6.7?%, mainly thanks to the acquisition of bike store chain Fiets!, as the combined retail sales of Dreamland and Dreambaby remained virtually stable.

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Despite a challenging macro-economic climate, strong competition and varying promotional pressure, Colruyt Group was able to increase its gross profit margin to 26.8?% of revenue, but costs also increased. On a like-for-like basis, the EBITDA margin was 8.2?% of sales, while operating profit (EBIT) remained stable at 5.3?% of sales.

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